HTML Canvas : an Interactive Travelogue

As you know, I've been doing a lot of ebook prototyping lately. Ever since the iBooks 2 announcement I've had this idea stuck in my head that we can make rich interactive ebooks using nothing but web technology. That lead to the toolkit I've been working on, now open sourced on github. As the first thing written with that toolkit I'm proud to announce my first interactive book: HTML Canvas, a Travelogue.

The book is an interactive guide to learning Canvas. It is not a comprehensive reference guide since there are plenty of those. It gives you an overview of the technology with deep dives into a few parts to let you explore what the technology can do. It does this through some hands on tutorial chapters where you build charts and a simple video game. It also has interactive code snippets that let you tweak variables to see how they react in real time. The entire book is written in HTML with the ebook toolkit. For the chapter navigation I used the new Enyo 2.0 beta with the Onyx theme. Animation is done with Amino, and for app packaging I've used PhoneGap.

Canvas is a technology that is still in flux, so I think an app based book is a perfect way of learning it. As the technology improves and changes I can continue to update the book with new examples and reference material. I like to call this concept an everbook. When you buy such a book you aren't just buying the static text itself. You are buying all future editions of that book, and can give feedback to the author to help shape the material. If the reader wants a deeper explanation of a particular topic or finds a bug in an example, then he can simply email the author with the request. The book is updated for free and everyone wins.

I will be releasing it for all of the tablet platforms over time, starting with webOS first and the iPad next. The retail price will be 4.99$, but as a thank you to the webOS community I am releasing it for a permanent price of 99 cents. And as of right now it is live in the TouchPad App Catalog and available for purchase. I love you guys and this is the best way I can think of giving back: developing tools and apps to keep webOS great. Please check it out and give me feedback. All bugs will get top priority.

Thank you.

- Josh

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Posted March 12th, 2012

Tagged: ebooks palm webos